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Friday February 3, 2006 - 11:42:26 GMT
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Forex: Mellon FX Daily - U.S. Edition

Key Points
• USD retains upside risk ahead of US data – weak numbers may be needed to prevent further strength against EUR and JPY.
• NZD could advance further, but such gains may be difficult to sustain.
• NOK-SEK continues to dictate movement on EURSEK and EUR-NOK.
• Eurozone service sector PMIs show contrasting fortunes for Germany and France.
• Employment report, non-manufacturing ISM and Michigan sentiment feature in the US.

Market Outlook

Once again EUR-USD has been unable to build upon the gains seen yesterday, confirming the risk of a test lower today. Weak US data (see below for preview) may be required to prevent such a development, with key supports coming in at 1.2000 and 1.1966 (100-day MA). Yesterday’s comments from Trichet were reasonably hawkish and certainly support (without necessarily confirming) the likelihood of a March hike. But this has merely validated what the market was already expecting, so it has not ,been enough to boost EUR-USD. The latter will depend upon today’s data.

Not much has happened in terms of price action over the past 24 hours and the upside risk on USD-JPY referred to yesterday (having moved above 118.16) still applies. 119.50-120.00 is the main resistance area ahead of the 121.38 high from Dec 5.

Eurozone service sector PMI came out in line with market expectations of 57.0, but this apparently dull outcome masks some interesting developments in the national components. French PMI fell sharply to 57.1 from 58.7, while the German equivalent advanced strongly to 58.1 from 56.0. The level of the French number is still respectable, so there is no real reason for any disappointment, but the contrasting movements in German and French components are again notable, as they were in the manufacturing version earlier in the week.

The weakness in the JPY and some talk of a large impending Uridashi issue has been helping the NZD and this could extend further if 0.6925 breaks and the rumours are confirmed. However, there are potential pitfalls for the NZD, so we would not look for any gains to be sustained. Below 0.6890 would take some of the edge off the move seen since yesterday.

EUR-SEK and EUR-NOK continue to move in different directions, reflecting the influence of NOK-SEK. This has been an increasing occurrence in recent weeks, particularly with regard to movements in EUR-NOK. If 1.1600 can be scaled on NOK-SEK today it would raise the risk of further significant short-term movement on EUR-SEK (above 9.30) and EUR-NOK (below 8.00-8.01). If this did happen we would not expect the move in EUR-SEK to be sustained given the solid interest rate backdrop. EUR-NOK is a slightly different story however, especially if next week’s CPI data sees some of reversal of last month’s weakness.

Day Ahead
US – the market is looking for a fairly strong payroll number today, generally as a response to the weak December data. The arguments are generally about the weather, with poor conditions in December suppressing hiring opportunities and the mild weather in January seeing a reversal of such behaviour. Moreover, the January data has a large positive seasonal adjustment factor, designed to offset the normal onset of very bad weather during the month. With the normal weather pattern having been broken there is a risk that the January payroll could be inflated. This may be reduced somewhat by an upward revision to the December number and note that today’s report also includes the annual benchmark revisions and revised seasonal factors. Back revisions could therefore be larger than normal.

Overall, the January payroll should be seen in the context of what has happened in previous months (which have been generally weak) and on this basis it will be difficult to conclude that there has been any major change in the underlying trend, which was around +180k/+200k for much of the time from October 2004 to Katrina. However, given the recent falls in jobless claims the market may be more receptive to any further information suggesting a strengthening in the labour market. The non-manufacturing ISM survey is also due and looks like being fairly solid – something below 58.0 would be needed to cause some disappointment. Michigan sentiment will be watched to see how consumer sentiment is holding up in the face of recent fuel price strength.

Data/event EDT Consensus*

US Non-farm payrolls (Jan) 08.30 +250k
US Unemployment rate (Jan) 08.30 4.9%
US Average workweek (Jan) 08.30 33.8
US Hourly earnings (Jan) m/m 08.30 +0.3%
US Michigan sentiment (Jan, fin) 09.45 93.4
US ISM non-manu (Jan) 10.00 60.0
US Factory orders (Dec) m/m 10.00 +1.1%

Latest data Actual Consensus*
AU Retail trade (Dec) m/m +0.4% +0.5%
AU Trade balance (Dec) -A$1.1bn -A$1.8bn
IT PMI services (Jan) 56.0 55.8
FR PMI services (Jan) 57.1 58.3
DE PMI services (Jan) 58.1 56.3
EU PMI services (Jan) 57.0 57.0
GB PMI services (Jan) 57.0 57.5
EU CPI (Jan, flash est) y/y +2.4% +2.4%
EU Retail sales (Dec) m/m +0.1% +0.1%
* Consensus unless stated

2005, Mellon Financial Corporation Note: Although obtained from sources believed by us to be reliable, Mellon Financial Corporation and its affiliates cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information upon which this report is based. This report does not purport to disclose the risks or benefits of entering into particular transactions and should not be construed as advice in any specific instance. The views in this report constitute our judgement as of this date and are subject to change without notice.
Ian Gunner 44 20 7163 5996 06.40 EDT Monday May 31 2005


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